This week the students got a letter from Lightning. He was in the blue zone and feeling very sad. We found out that Lightning had been to a monster party where he was the only one there with Green fur. Other monsters made fun of him for being different. As a group we spoke about how our differences make us special and if how we were all the same it would be very boring. Also, if we were all the same we would not be able to learn from one another.
The students looked at what personal power is. This means being true to your heart and what you believe or like if you are alone or in a group. We role played what we could say if someone made fun of us for having a different hair style, shirt or opinion. We read a book called the Sneetches based on this theme and Amazing Grace. In this book when Grace is told by one of her peers that she cannot audition for the role of Peter pan because she is a girl and she is black, Grace uses her personal power, listens to her heart and does it anyways. She is given the part of Peter Pan and soars in this role.
Continuing on with our bucket-fillers theme, the students looked at ways they could make Lightning feel better. One student remembered that if you dip someone else's bucket it is usually because your bucket is empty. Another student remembered that when you fill someone else's bucket it also fills your bucket too. The students decided to write notes to Lightning and their friends to fill their buckets. We also worked together on putting a quiet corner together in case anyone is in the blue zone and needs recharging.
After we had visited the topics of personal power, learning from our differences and helping those around us by filling their buckets we found another note from Lighting. He wanted us to study the book Follow the Drinking Gourd. In this book the students learned (in an age appropriate way) about slavery and the Underground Railroad. They followed the story of Molly and her family who as slaves were treated like property instead of people. The students learned how the song called Follow the Drinking Gourd held a secret message that would help slaves escape on a path where they could be free in Canada.
The students learned that Molly and her family followed the constellation The Big Dipper (The Drinking Gourd) which pointed to the North Star. The lyrics held a secret map. The students like being detectives and decoding the song. As a sensory activity the students made constellations in our sensory bin. As a math exercise they also used dice to add numbers together and cover giant stars made of pattern blocks.
To conclude our week, the students wrote Happy Monday Messages for each other. The students really loved filling each other's buckets and in doing so, their own as well.